Big society conference has a whiff of civil disobedience about it

On Tuesday I listened to people from the often-unheard community sector
discuss the big society.

There was no government speaker and hardly any suits or ties in the

A rather hirsute man wearing jeans and a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt, and with
a strong West Midlands accent, chaired the event. Very nearly half the 35
delegates were women and 10 were non-white.

There was plenty of anger, a bit of swearing and a whiff of civil

It’s probably fair to say most people there aren’t fans of the big
society and won’t be on civil society minister Nick Hurd’s Christmas card list.

Many voluntary sector conferences can be a bit sterile and formulaic.
This one, organised by the Community Sector Coalition, was passionate and anarchic.

It was probably the last conference I will attend in 2010 and it was
certainly the most fun. It was also, without doubt, the most representative of
the majority of people who work and volunteer in the third sector.